The Future is in Doncaster

Chris Brogan and Rob WilmotI spent some time in Doncaster in the United Kingdom with the legendary Rob Wilmot. What I saw was a bunch of people who had a great sense of what all this social media stuff would be able to accomplish for business, for education, for the community at large. It’s the best kind of story, because I see it often in towns and cities just like Doncaster, which is in the Yorkshire area of the UK, in the north. What I know is this: we think of cities and communities from the perspective of the past. Doncaster used to be about coal, about railways, about whatever was before. But now? It’s a place where the future is happening.

Chris Brogan and Cameron from Techleash.com Cameron Rawson is the publisher and founder of TechLeash. He’s bright, entrepreneurial, and driven. In a place where all his fellow schoolmates are thinking about what jobs they might eke out, what schools they might attend, how they might shape their future, Cameron is creating a technology-focused media property. He’s recently started an Internet radio show to go with his “print” publication. Where? In a city where coal mining was taken away. In a city where the future was stripped away.

When I travel, I’m asked quite often, “Where have you been that you love?” My answer is always a bit of a surprise: Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St Louis, and now Doncaster.

Bawtry in YorkshireI love places like Doncaster and Pittsburgh and the rest because they are full of bright people reinventing the world. I spent a week with the brilliant Rob Wilmot and the future-minded Cameron Rawson, and several other incredible people reinventing the world. While others gripe and moan about what’s missing, what’s gone, what has been denied, the people of Doncaster are inventing new futures.

That’s what matters.

Doncaster

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  • http://scottgould.me/ Scott Gould

    Glad you had a ball Chris, was great having you back on British soil!

    Thank you, as well, for being an ambassador for one of our cities and telling people what us Brits are doing around the world.

    Scott

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  • http://www.joshchandlerva.com Josh Chandler

    Chris,

    I am delighted to see that Cameron is getting such tremendous recognition. Myself and Cameron have been chatting about his projects for some time, very exciting times for him.

    Congratulations Cameron on this success. :)

  • KellyRigotti

    You should come see what we're doing in Grenoble, France! I'd love to show you around.

  • http://www.b2bbloggers.com Jeremy Victor

    Chris,
    What's inspiring to me about this story is that the power to publish and distribute has forever changed media and that the youth of today are growing up in a place where they can take charge of lives and *make* something.

    Here's to Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St Louis, Doncaster, and the rest of the towns around the globe where technology is becoming the manufacturing of the industrial age.

  • http://clubseabreezefortune.com Judith Atkinson

    As an ex- UK Northerner, now living in Spain I am delighted to see that the UK is at last embracing social media through Rob Wilmot.

    The North of England has always been great at neighbourliness and networking.

    Thanks for this Chris and I for one will be following Rob with interest.

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    When you visit and fall in love with Dayton, Ohio for all the same reasons, drop us a line and we'll hook you up with Mayor Gary Leitzelll http://www.facebook.com/garyleitzell and Carol Maas http://www.warriorclassic.com who are indomitable forces in looking forward for a city that has been declared dead and dying by too many who know the people here too little.

  • http://www.bcsdigital.co.uk Rob Wilmot

    Chris, you are a gentleman. Thank you again for spending time with us in Doncaster, and for your generosity of spirit. I have to say one of the many highlights for me was you taking the time to inspire Cameron by giving him the much needed advice so valuable to someone so young but so bright. You gave him direction and you made his day (and mine by doing this.)

    My kindest regards, as always.

  • http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/ Chuck Frey

    Don't complain about the dark, be a light to others. What are you doing to help bring about the future?

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Cool to know he has a friend like you, Josh. It's great that you're participating and adding to the story.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    It just ALSO makes me more eager to attend LikeMinds again, Scott. Besides, I couldn't find Hendricks Gin anywhere around Yorkshire. : )

  • http://www.bcsdigital.co.uk Rob Wilmot

    Looks liked we failed on the Gin front then. Sorry ;)

  • http://www.bcsdigital.co.uk Rob Wilmot

    You are so right. Cameron is making things happen at 17!

  • http://twitter.com/BrandDirector Gary Marshall

    If only I had known before the day I could have brought you a bottle, as got one in the kitchen.
    Would have been a small price for the great event it was, and a pleasure to meet so many passionate and enthusiastic people on the day.

  • http://twitter.com/FredVieten Frederik Vieten

    Cool post Chris. It's great to read how young and future minded people are changing things up.

    “While others gripe and moan about what’s missing, what’s gone, what has been denied, the people of Doncaster are inventing new futures.

    That’s what matters.”

    Well said.

  • http://scottgould.me/ Scott Gould

    ;-) Hearing you loud and clear

  • ktatgenhorst

    The area known as “The Region” in northwest Indiana, Illinois,Wisconsin, Michigan (depending on the definition) was a steel power house, once supported by the likes of US Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and other US companies. Those companies have sold to foreign companies and less money goes to the communities (Except US Steel) and they have down sized, reduced output etc…. This area is becoming a tech hub now with many tech companies owned by former steel kids. Additionally, search for #nwindiana on twitter to see a booming social media scene. Thanks for recognizing areas like our own, feel free to come and visit us at a #nwitweetup :-)

  • http://itsdifferentnow.com Karen

    Chris I adore you! I am originally from England (now in N. Cal), and know of many towns and cities just like Doncaster. I applaud the work that they are involved with, and you for spotlighting their endeavors.

  • http://twitter.com/kyleplacy Kyle Lacy

    Through technology people now have so many more options to make things happen! Good post. It really is inspiring because we can invent new futures…especially when its so much is changing.

  • http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/ The JackB

    the people of Doncaster are inventing new futures.

    It reminds me of all of the comments/quotes you hear about great athletes. They don't go where the ball/puck has been but where it is going.

  • imam2007

    Cool post Chris. It's great to read how young and future minded people are changing things up.
    Thanks for your ideas…

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  • http://twitter.com/TweetsBySkeet Tweeter Skeeter

    I know Chris is listening in…..

    he has already been along (without a prompt) to comment here – (this was a special for the girls):
    http://www.birdsontheblog.co.uk/you-want-some-n

    Great to get a few people together in the same space.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterFaur Peter Faur

    Chris, I'm so glad you like St. Louis, my hometown. I spent most of my life there; I've lived in Phoenix only seven years. Most of my business still can be traced back to St. Louis. It's a wonderful town.

  • http://mydarabell.com/ Dara Bell

    Nice story Chris. The towns of the North Of England can really benifit from Social Media. They are earmarked as regeneration towns by the government whilst this sounds a little authorative. The town I went to University in Glasgow was labelled as such too and has undergone significant rebirth, renewal and regeneration.

    I agree alot with your statement about Social Media benefiting such towns. They have unbelieble architechture, green spaces but high crime and social problems. They were the richest towns in the UK at one point. This reminds me of what Tony Robbins said of Japan after the war. That was the place to invest, to learn from. True there is a hunger there. I loved the hunger of Glaswegians. I learnt odd things there like dressing to impress, like being kind to people and working hard (drinking hard sometimes) that I did not with the Toffs at my college. I choose this city for its ability to bounce back.

    I have thought myself of ways I can help these areas. invest in these areas. Even written it into the business plans, certainly on my list way higher than outsourcing to China. Many Chambers Of Commerce are advising outsourcing to China, probably too In Pitsburg.

    You are an inspiration Chris. Cool guys with their heads very screwed on. Josh and Cameron. I feel town in the north can benefit from digital connecting and re-adjusting economically We know this has to happen it is just about choosing tools best ROI and having leaders like you in the these spaces and collective will. Actually just going ahead and doing might work.

  • http://twitter.com/Cameron Cameron Rawson

    Thank you again Chris, the experience was brilliant and being featured here on your blog was totally unexpected. Thank you so much!

  • http://twitter.com/Cameron Cameron Rawson

    Thank you so much Chris. I really can't thank you enough, what you told me was brilliant and featuring myself, TechLeash and Rob here on your blog is awesome! Totally unexpected. Posting about Doncaster too is something I'm proud to see. It was a pleasure meeting you.

    “I spent a week with the brilliant Rob Wilmot and the future-minded Cameron Rawson, and several other incredible people reinventing the world. While others gripe and moan about what’s missing, what’s gone, what has been denied, the people of Doncaster are inventing new futures.

    That’s what matters.”

    Thank you so much Chris!

  • http://mydarabell.com/ Dara Bell

    TheAfterthought
    Chambers Of Commerce need to advise less outsourcing to China and more on insourcing to Doncaster, St Louis, Pitsburg or the mill towns of Burnely. Obamas move for T1 as well as similar UK targets will help!

  • http://twitter.com/kdonlintweets K Donlin

    You are so right about Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, two of the Most Unlikely Best Cities in America! Nice people, good food, and cheap beer in both places.

  • http://www.jukemfootball.com M Spelman

    Last year, I traveled all over the country for about 6 months in marketing/sales blitz mode – knocking on doors introducing my new startup product in person at events and to retailers, families, and educators. It was not always easy in the midst of the rugged economy to find enthusiasm. When I was headed to cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, I dreaded it a little because I expected to be met with tough sells, dark depressed moods, and local businesses hanging by a string for dear life. What I found were people who were strong, resilient, hopeful, and much more optimistic than many other parts of the country who don't have the reputation of being “hit hard” by the changing economy. These folks have no place to go but up and that's where they are decidedly headed. It's really quite inspiring and encouraging. Based on my experiences, these are the places to watch for creativity and innovation going forward.

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    'Life In A Northern Town” on the IPod I expect.

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  • Nick Wright

    The last time I was in Doncaster, it was a down-and-out depressing mining town. Thanks for giving me a reason to go back!

  • http://www.archcityhomes.com Karen Goodman

    Glad to hear that St. Louis made your short list of favorite cities. So often people write off mid-sized cities that are in the middle of the country.

    St. Louis residents tend to be cautious before adopting new ideas, but once they do, they jump in whole-heartedly. I've connected with a strong group of social media and twitter people who work hard to support each other and promote small businesses. Tweetups and social media events may not go viral here, but the people that show up really connect with each other.

  • http://www.hubbubideas.com Nick Wright

    Cameron, I'm sorry that I missed you at Podcamp, but I've heard all about you and your brilliance from Rob. I add my voice to those wishing you every success.

    It's sad but true that we're just not very good in this country (UK) at recognising, celebrating and nurturing raw grass-root talent. That you had to plead a case to your school before they saw the value for you in attending this event is probably a case in point (If I was your teacher I'ld be paying for your bus fare and providing the packed lunch!).

    So hats off to Rob and people like him for just giving a damn and making a difference because I imagine it makes all the difference.

    P.S. While my reputation is not on the same level as Chris's (who's is?!) if you ever need another digital brain to pick my door, and email box, is always open (Rob can make the introductions).

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  • http://www.hubbubideas.com Nick Wright

    Two 'Nick Wrights' commenting on the same blog, what are the chances of that ?!

  • http://www.bcsdigital.co.uk Rob Wilmot

    Nick I think it's brilliant you offering your expertise to Cameron I know he will appreciate it. Cameron, Nick talks a lot of sense and has a great depth of exeprience in online marketing. I know this because we have worked together a great deal over the last 5 years

  • http://twitter.com/AlBoxallGordon Al Boxall Gordon

    Chris. That's great news to put Doncaster on the map and see it has provided such inspiration globally. I live about 15 miles away from Doncaster in Wakefield. Next time you pop by Doncaster it would would be great to pop by for a cup of tea and a sandwhich :-) Not a coal one though.

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